Alright, I’m a sucker for paranormal horror. I have four haunting films on my calendar this year. We saw two haunted house films: House on Haunted Hill and The Amityville Horror and the first of two haunted hotel films: The Shining. The fourth haunting film in my marathon this year is much newer than the others but no less creepy. Tonight I watch 1408.
Mike Enslin (John Cusack) is an author who travels across the country to supposed supernatural spots where he evaluates and debunks the claims. Since he has yet to find a place that is actually haunted, he is understandably a bit skeptical. Mike receives a postcard from the Dolphin Hotel in New York City with the words “Don’t Enter 1408” on the back. Of course, Mike heads to the Dolphin Hotel to stay in the room but when he gets there, he finds that 1408 is no longer available to anyone to stay in. Mike presses for the room and the manager Mr. Olin (Samuel L. Jackson) continues to fight him, offering a room upgrade, expensive cognac, and even over 50 files containing the information of people who have died as a result of staying in 1408. Finally, Mike threatens to sue and he is granted access.
Upon entering the room, Mike finds nothing out of the ordinary. He walks around the room, evaluating everything from the paintings to the furniture. Suddenly, the clock radio begins playing on its own before setting itself to 60:00 and counting down. During the next hour, Mike experiences ghosts of people who died in the room, gets hurt and finds that his window is the only one in the building, the vents all lead back into his room and the doorknob comes off of his door. Mike must find his way out of 1408 or relive the hour forever.
There were a few points in the movie where I started to feel like I might be going insane. Mike is messed with so much that you start to feel like your brain is turning to mush. I’m pretty sure that I would have just thrown myself out of the window about thirty minutes into the countdown. I don’t think I would be mentally stable enough to last that hour. I can’t even hear The Carpenters’ song “We’ve Only Just Begun” anymore because of this movie. A part of me thinks that shit is about to get crazy when the song starts. No thanks.
A fun fact about this film is that it is the last good movie that Cusack made. I mean, we already know Samuel L. Jackson takes a role in every movie but Cusack tended to pick some pretty good ones. It’s a tad disappointing that this was the one to end his streak. I guess if he had to go out though, this was a decent movie to do it with.